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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Infrastructure by Duke University

1,331 ratings

About the Course

Decentralized Finance: The Future of Finance is a set of four courses taught by Campbell R. Harvey (Professor of Finance at the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research) that focus on decentralized finance (DeFi). In this first course, we begin by exploring the origins of DeFi and take a broad historical view from the earliest barter economies, such as the first peer-to-peer exchanges of bartering, to present day. The course also looks at historical examples of money having value even though it is not officially backed. We then focus on the key infrastructure components: blockchain, cryptocurrency, smart contracts, oracles, stablecoins and decentralized applications (or dApps). This includes discussion of the mechanics of the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains including cryptographic hashing. Next, we focus on the specific problems that DeFi is designed to solve: inefficiency (costly, slow, and insecure today), limited access (1.7 billion are unbanked), opacity (we need to trust regulators to monitor banks and the regulators have mixed records), centralized control (financial system is oligopolistic imposing higher fees than we would have in a competitive market) and lack of interoperability (it is difficult to move funds from one financial institution to another today). The course closes by exploring many of the myths about the crypto space....

Top reviews


Jan 13, 2022

I have fore-read about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, yet, this course was an excellent way to structure and review my knowledge. I am sure to join the next course of this specialization!


Apr 12, 2022

Great introduction into DeFi, the professor walks us through key definitions, a bit of history, potential applications and common misunderstandings about this space. Good launching pad to dive deeper

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1 - 25 of 300 Reviews for Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Infrastructure

By Stephen

Oct 22, 2021

Greetings from Nairobi.

This was an excellent course on the introduction to Decentralized Finance. The instructor is very engaging and knowledgeable in the subject matter, na.

I also recommend his Blockchain Business Models course here on Coursera, that should be taken together with these DeFi series courses to help one understand blockchain, and appreciate the changing nature of the financial services industry.

Great content! Great professor!


By Nguyen N A

Jan 14, 2022

I have fore-read about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, yet, this course was an excellent way to structure and review my knowledge. I am sure to join the next course of this specialization!

By Victor F

Jan 6, 2022

Everybody who wants to quickly get around all these new and exciting decentrilized technologies is advised to take the series of courses. Info provided is deep enough, easy to grasp, and concise.

By Omid R R

Dec 20, 2021

Great course! It does help that I am a finance student with a little bit of running knowledge of economics, and traditional finance. Also helps me see the centralized system from another angle!

By Aidan G

Nov 5, 2021

A good part 1 of the overall course! It's hard to find consolidated knowledge of DeFi browsing on Twitter, so this is very useful to understand the full scope of the field.

By Simarjeet S

Sep 23, 2021

Great Course

By Brooke S

Sep 20, 2022

Good introduction course into the blockchain space. It clarified a lot of the terminology and basic bones of the technology for me. The professor seems really knowledgeable and cool, frankly. It paced perfectly, and I was able to retain a great deal of the information and pass the quizzes without taking notes.

By Talal N

Apr 13, 2022

Great introduction into DeFi, the professor walks us through key definitions, a bit of history, potential applications and common misunderstandings about this space. Good launching pad to dive deeper

By Ulysses M

Dec 13, 2021

The course largely follows the instructor's book albeit with an easier to follow introduction. As such, this first course is an overview and it gets us ready for the information to follow.

By Sarah H

Nov 6, 2021

Very thorough foundational course! I also loved being able to download notes & slides to go back and reference.

By pablo g

Dec 28, 2021

Great first step into the DeFi space. Gets going with main concepts, how things work and the general picture.

By Joseph I

Dec 11, 2021

An excellent entry level course into the rapidly growing world of decentralized finance.

By Lon A

Oct 28, 2021

Professor Harvey does a great job explaining the topic.

By Lorenzo B

Mar 20, 2022

The contact although basilar, has a good quality. The form is very simple, maybe too simple. Professor is definitely well prepared on the topic, but he lacks in empaty to transfer knowledge to students. The result is no more than a slide reasding, that can be accomplished in 30-40mins for the whole course. The general idea of the course is good, but seems poorly presented.

By Miguel A M

Mar 9, 2022

I think the course gives a good introduction to DeFi. However I found it a little bit messy. I found some concepts are poorly or even not explained.

By Mike M

Dec 23, 2021

Excellent course! Highly recommended. I took this course as part of the four course specialization. Professor Harvey does an excellent job explaining many nuances to DeFi.

He uses a combination of powerpoint, visuals, analogies and case studies to make the content understandable. The professor teaches with clarity, and passion yet treats the subject fairly offering alternative points of view about the opportunities and risks of DeFi as compared to the current financial system.

I have been introduced to the cryptocurrency and DeFi space a little over 6 months ago. Since that time, I have "fallen down the rabbit hole" so to speak and cannot learn enough about it. These courses provide a strong foundation to explore further for personal investing, and or a career in the space.

Unlike the other courses I took on Coursera related to blockchain and cryptocurriencies (which were also pretty good), these courses felt much more up to date than the others. Being up to date in this space is essential because one year is like 10 years of another field in terms of innovation and how fast the landscape changes.

Specific to this course, it was a very helpful foundation to start with related to DeFi. Once finished with this course, I couldn't wait to jump into the others.

By Jose G

Jan 28, 2022

Me ha sorprendido gratamente el meticuloso y bien estructurado contenido de este curso. Abarca desde el conocimiento más básico hasta avanzar en la explicación de los aspectos más aridos, haciéndolo de forma bastante sencilla, comprensible. y didáctica. Contiene buenos ejemplos para ser contrastados con la realidad actual, aunado a que se nota el esfuerzo por mostrar el estado de arte más reciente dentro del conjunto complicado de innovaciones que se vienen dando en DeFi como respuesta mejorada a lo que ocurre en las finanzas tradicionales.

By Michael A

Mar 30, 2022

Very Informative course and very well explained. Great course if you want to learn what DeFi is and where its heading. No prior knowledge nessecary although it will help, all you need is the aptitude to learn. Keep watching the course videos until you grasp the concepts. i had to watch some videos more than once until the infromation was finally cemented in my brain. Thanks to Professor Campbell R. Harvey for explaining everything in an easy to understand way. Looking forward to course two.

By Raman P

Feb 12, 2022

The Course is appropriate for basic understanding of DeFi, it provides understanding on the direction for further learning whether it is other courses in this specialization or different online learning. Taking into consideration that the course is embedded in specialization it is hard to point out areas for improvement as white spaces not covered or properly visualized here might be spotlighted in the next courses. Many thanks to the author for efforts!

By Yao L

Jun 14, 2022

I only heard the name of Bitcoin, Blockchain before, but I did not know anything about Decentralized Finance. This course made up for my cognitive deficit and made me feel the fascinating world of Defi. The course is consie in expession but rich in content, with abudant cases and data. This is a fantastic course that can be useful to the vast majority of students who want to learn about decentralized finance. Thanks Professor Harvey!

By Jim A

Apr 3, 2022

Highly, highly reccomended! I've done some thrashing around figuring out DeFi, and this course is an excellent starting place for those both new to crypto and DeFi. While there is a multitude of resources online, it isn't easy to find this information in one place, presented in an A-Z manner. I look forward to the remaining courses diving deeper into the concepts and possibilities of this revolutionary technology.

By Caroline M

Aug 13, 2022

Not only this course is precise and synthetic, but it opens a space where you definitely want to be an early informed person. The emphasis about the creativity more than the computer science skills gives will and hope to be part of inventing the future. The professor is extraordinary. And for non native English speaker, his way to speak is very intelligible. Thanks a lot. I start the second course tomorrow.

By Jiahui C

Sep 4, 2022

Incredible course! I learned so much that relates to blockchain, smart contracts, and dApps correspondingly. I was afraid that I might not understand the core concept of blockchain due to my my lack of knowledge base without a degree in computer science. Nevertheless, our processor proposed massive vivid analogies to demonstrate fundamental concepts and it is easy to adapt! THANK YOU!

By Lakshmanan P

Dec 28, 2021

I really liked this course. Being an introductory course it was very easy to digest and also opened up my view on the various terminlogies and concepts behind DeFi.

The instructor is pretty good, intially I thought he was just stnading still but he explains the concepts clearly and is not reading off the prompter. Very excited to see what the other three courses bring.

By Ishan S

Aug 29, 2023

I liked it. It introduced me to so many concepts of DeFi. Despite being an expert in Blockchain, I was avoiding looking into this domain. I also learnt a few new finance concepts which I discussed with my peers and learnt about them through which I was also able to discuss what I had learnt here!

It was a great learning experience and Harvey sir has been teaching well